rogue rhetoric

random musings by michael d. durkota

Category: .: Drunken Sailors

Random Musings about Hunter Killer (and other submarine films)

I must admit up front that I have cherished every submarine movie I have ever seen. There is always some quality or aspect that allows me to overlook the technical inaccuracies or the completely implausible scenarios. Bottom line, Hunter Killer has far more qualities than inaccuracies than most submarine films I have seen. This is no doubt because the film is based on the novel co-authored by George Wallace, a retired submarine officer.

The film stars Gerard Butler as Captain Joe Glass. I’ve known quite a few submarine commanding officers, and Gerard plays the part well. The cast also includes Gary Oldman and a few other actors you may recognize. I was happy to see Toby Stephens (Captain Flint from Black Sails) in a new, yet oddly similar role as a Navy SEAL team leader. I miss Black Sails and wish it would return. If anyone from Black Sails is reading this, please make more seasons of Black Sails. But I digress.

The plot of Hunter Killer was unique and intricate. The film contained all the things you’d expect in a submarine drama: undersea warfare, depth charges, coy tactics, harrowing near death scenarios. The lack of communication between land and a submerged submarine means that a submarine commander is often forced to make critical decisions with little or no information; this builds suspense that borders on terror. Good stuff.

My only gripe with the plot was that the stuff between the Pentagon and the White House—the political aspects of military decisions—was a tad heavy-handed and probably a little over-acted at times (even though I love Gary Oldman). The backchannel operations with the NSA operative seemed implausible, but the sub-plot was entertaining nonetheless.

In my opinion, only three things were missing.

  • The order to dive was given early in the film, but the alarm was not sounded. I need to hear that alarm. I miss that alarm.
  • The obligatory emergency blow was down-played. If you blinked, you could miss it. If I ever make a submarine film, the emergency blow sequence will last about 10 minutes. It will be montage of various camera angles and crew reactions. There will be bug juice sloshing in crew’s mess and people hanging onto pipes with their feet swinging in the air. An emergency blow is a rollercoaster ride that very few people ever get to experience. I am eternally grateful to be one of those lucky people.
  • There is a great line about where to find the crew near the beginning of the film. The XO is concerned he won’t be able to round them up. The CO asks how many pubs there are near the base. The XO replies there are two. The CO says, “Let’s try something radical. I will check one, you can check the other.” It was great and realistic and quite funny, but I really wish I could have seen it. I was hoping for a montage of fights and girls and beer and debauchery. Just a couple minutes. Something. Sailors do bad things when they aren’t busy doing good things. It’s ok to tell that tale.

Despite those few missed opportunities, I really hope this film does well and ensures that Hollywood will invest in future submarine films. They average about one every 4 or five years. Since the time of my service, I’ve had the pleasure to have Hunt for Red October, Crimson Tide, U-571, The Abyss, K-19 Widow-maker, and Down Periscope. Even the latter had its moments of entertainment (I warned you, all submarine films are great in some regard).

I won’t have to wait too long for the next major theatrical release, although this one might haunt me a little more than I need. I followed the Kursk tragedy as it unfolded, and I’ve since read some non-fiction books about the events, including the failed rescue attempts. It will be gut-wrenching to put faces to these men. I will probably have nightmares for a few nights, but that is ok. It is a submarine movie and I will love it. Michael Nyqvist is also on the cast of both Hunter Killer and Kursk, so that is kinda cool for him.

Bottom line: Hunter Killer is an excellent and credible submarine drama. I will watch it again when I eventually add it to my DVD collection, but for now, it’s easily in competition for my favorite submarine drama.

Drunken sailors and other random musings for a rainy Sunday

  • The Readers’ Favorite 2016 International Book Awards were announced yesterday. Once in a Blue Year was a finalist in the Fiction-Military category!
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was excellent, and I’m not generally a fan of Burton’s films. It was creative, intriguing, and thoroughly entertaining. Highly recommended.
  • What was the Navy thinking when it got rid of job titles? I was always proud to be a Machinist’s Mate even though my actual job didn’t require machining. It mm1was a traditional rating with a long history.
  • I am so very glad that hockey season begins in 11 days. Let’s go Pens!
  • I encountered no less than three people texting and driving this weekend, and I still haven’t figured out a way to legally retaliate.
  • For some reason, I really miss Vegas today. Well, I guess I miss Vegas a little at some point every day.
  • How’s this for a story of drunken sailor debauchery?
    Going overboard: Bar and cinema trashed by ‘drunken Royal Navy officers’

Drunken sailor fined for unwanted Thurso house calls

WALKING into a stranger’s home and climbing into a spare bed after stripping down to his underpants has landed a serviceman with a £1000 fine.

Source: Drunken sailor fined for unwanted Thurso house callsskull

I had my share of rough nights while I was in the Navy, but I never crashed at a stranger’s house. One such night inspired me to a pen a few lines…

From Once in a Blue Year:

A one-night port call. A blur. Rosyth, Scotland. Beer. Dunfermline, home of Andrew Carnegie. Beer. The castle at Edinburgh—William Wallace. Trevor Wallace. Coincidence? I think not. Beer, beer, beer. Scottish women with large breasts. Funky nonpasteurized milk. Strange milk, large breasts. There’s something in the milk—do they export?

Wrong-side-of-the-road passengers who were drivers. Beer—Guinness Stout, Harp, Tenant’s 80, or 90 if you dare. Fish and chips and beer. Her Majesty’s Royal Navy. HMS Revenge. Beer. Page three, girls in the newspaper. Nudity in television commercials. Beer. Girl at a bar, many beers.

How could Trevor have known she had a guy? Fists flying, stool tossing, shattered beer mugs, all-out bar brawl, yeah. Now this is living. The girl bawling; her man bloody, crumpled on the floor. Cops, cuffs, you know the routine. That guy was an asshole. He jumped me—you saw it.

Yeah, it wasn’t your fault. You boys get back to the boat. Don’t want to see you here again.

Aye, aye matey. What do you do with a drunken sailor?

Eternal Patrol

thresherOn April 10, 1963 at 0917 the USS Thresher (SSN-593) transmitted her final chilling message: “Exceeding test depth.” Moments later her hull imploded and 129 submariners and shipyard workers lost their lives. The implosion reportedly occurred in 0.1 seconds, too fast for the human nervous system to perceive. For the sake of those lost souls, I’ve always hoped that is true.

Sailors rest your oars, your brothers have assumed the watch.

Random musings from this weekend

  • Black Sails killed one of my favorite characters and there is only one episode left in the season. Very depressed on both counts. On the plus side, I discovered that Michael Crichton wrote a novel called Pirate Latitudes. I am not a fan of posthumously published novels, but it’s about pirates, so I added it to the reading list.skull
  • Watched the latest episode of Better Call Saul. It keeps getting better.
  • I put the finishing touches on my review of Erica Crockett’s The Ram. I’ll post it on Wednesday to coincide with the official release. Be sure to check it out.
  • It is the first day of spring. It is snowing in western PA. What the hell?
  • I am mentally preparing myself to despise The Walking Dumb tonight. I am hoping they will eventually make me so angry that I will follow through with my repeated threats to stop watching.

Dear Drunken Sailor

Source: HUMOR: Dear Drunken Sailor – Pagosa Daily Post News Events & Video for Pagosa Springs Colorado

A Dear Drunken Sailor column. I wskullish I had thought of this. Well played, Pagosa Daily Post. Well played.

Navy admiral reportedly fired for public drunkenness, nudity at conference

A top Navy supply officer has been fired for an episode involvingpirate public drunkenness and nudity at a conference with defense contractors earlier this year, according to published reports.

Source: Navy admiral reportedly fired for public drunkenness, nudity at conference | Fox News

 

I sure hope he had a good time, because the hangover and his ruined career had to hurt.

Drunk Russian sailor crashes 7,000-ton ship

What shall we do with a drunken sailor? Don’t give him control of a huge cargo ship, for starters.

Source: Drunk Russian sailor crashes 7,000-ton ship – CNN.com

Why does everyone have to pick on drunken sailors all the time? Where’s the Drunken Sailor Anti-Defamation League when you need them? A completely politically-correct title could have been “Russian ship not engineered to adequately sustain poor human performance.”

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